Android app development for complete beginners

 Android app development for complete beginners

Studying Android app development could seem to be a frightening job, however it could actually open up a world of prospects. You may create the following “hit app” that modifications the way in which we work or work together with one another. Possibly you’ll develop a software that you need to use your self to enhance your workflow. Or maybe you’ll simply acquire a brand new ability that lands you a terrific job!

Additionally learn: Making an app with no programming expertise: What are your choices?

Regardless of the case, studying Android app development may not be as robust as you assume, so long as you perceive what all of the completely different shifting components are for, and have a roadmap to information you thru. This submit is that highway map!

Step 1: Downloading the instruments you want for Android app development

First, you could create your development setting in order that your desktop is able to assist your Android development targets. For that, you have to Android Studio and the Android SDK. Fortunately, these each come packaged collectively in a single obtain that you could find right here.

Android Studio is an IDE. That stands for “built-in development setting,” which is basically an interface the place you’ll be able to enter your code (primarily Java or Kotlin) and entry all of the completely different instruments obligatory for development. Android Studio lets you entry libraries and APIs from the Android SDK, thereby supplying you with entry to native capabilities of the working system. You’ll additionally have the ability to construct your app into an APK utilizing Gradle, check it through a “digital gadget” (emulator), and debug your code whereas it runs.

Android app development

With all that mentioned, remember the fact that there are different choices accessible for your Android app development. For instance, Unity is a really highly effective software for cross-platform recreation development that additionally helps Android. Likewise, Visible Studio with Xamarin is a superb mixture for creating cross-platform apps in C#.

Android Studio is the very best place for most individuals to begin (with Android recreation development being an exception), significantly because it gives all these extra instruments and assets in a single place.

Luckily, arrange could be very easy and also you solely must observe together with the directions on the display.

Should you need assistance getting arrange, try our Android Studio tutorial for beginners. And our information on easy methods to set up the Android SDK.

Step 2: Begin a brand new challenge

After getting Android Studio in your machine, the following step is to begin a brand new challenge. This can be a easy course of, however you’ll must make just a few choices that can influence in your Android app development going ahead.

Project Template

Go to File > New > New Venture. You’ll now be requested to pick a “Venture Template.” This defines the code and UI components that might be included in your new app when it hundreds.

The phrase “Exercise” refers to a “display” in your app. Thus, a challenge with “No Exercise” might be fully empty, other than the fundamental file construction. A “Primary Exercise” alternatively will create a beginning display for your app and can add a button within the backside and a hamburger menu on the high. These are widespread components in lots of Android apps, so this may prevent a while.

That mentioned, it could actually additionally threat making issues extra sophisticated whenever you’re first attending to grips with development. For that motive, we’re going to decide on the “Empty Exercise.” This may create an exercise and a few information for us, however it gained’t add quite a lot of extra code.

Configure Project

Select a reputation and “package deal title” for your new app. The title is what your viewers will see when the app is put in on their gadget. The package deal title is an inside reference utilized by Android to distinguish it from different apps. This ought to be composed utilizing your high stage area (e.g. .com), area title, and app title.

For instance: com.androidauthority.sampleapp.

Should you don’t have a site or an organization, simply use “com” adopted by one thing that appeals to you!

You’ll additionally must determine the place you need the information to be saved and what language you’re going to code in: Java or Kotlin.

Java vs Kotlin for Android app development

One of many greatest choices you’ll must make as an Android developer is whether or not you’re going to study Kotlin or Java. Each languages are formally supported by Google and Android Studio, however they’ve some distinct variations.

Java has been supported by Google the longest and is what builders have been utilizing to craft Android apps for years. Java can also be some of the in-demand programming languages on this planet, which makes it a terrific selection for those that need to start a profession in development. Because the oldest Android programming language, there may be additionally barely extra assist for Java vs Kotlin, though it’s not by a lot.

Kotlin vs Java for Android app development

Kotlin, alternatively, has turn out to be Google’s most popular selection for Android development. That is the default when beginning a brand new app, and it’s prone to turn out to be extra widespread going ahead. Kotlin can also be considerably simpler to familiarize yourself with in case you’re a complete newbie.

For these causes, Kotlin might be the language of selection for Android builders which can be studying for enjoyable, or that haven’t any aspirations to develop for different platforms. Nevertheless, Java makes extra sense in case you’re fascinated by changing into an expert developer.

You’ll be able to study extra concerning the two choices right here by studying our information to Kotlin vs Java for Android.

Minimal SDK

Lastly, you additionally want to think about your Minimal SDK. That is the bottom model of Android that you really want your app to assist.

The decrease you make this quantity, the broader your potential viewers might be. Take into account that there’s a comparatively low adoption price for the most recent variations of Android, so sticking with the most recent replace will stop quite a lot of customers from making an attempt your creation.

Android 12 logo on Google Pixel 3 1

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Nevertheless, you’ll solely have the ability to entry the most recent options of Android in case you goal a newer model. Should you just like the sound of supporting chat bubbles, then you definitely’ll need to persist with the newest model.

Step 3: Familiarize your self with the information

I bear in mind the primary time I attempted Android app development. I loaded up Android Studio and was instantly baffled by what I noticed. There are simply so many alternative information, a number of kinds of code, folders, and extra! This was worlds away from the one clean file I used to be used to working with in Python and even QBasic (anybody bear in mind QBasic??).

This may be relatively daunting, however right here’s what you could know.

New Java file

The file that’s open is or MainActivity.kt. That is the principle logic file for the exercise that’s going to outline how your app behaves. Look on the left, and also you’ll see that this file is present in: MyApplication > app > src > foremost > java > com > companyname > myapplication.

The folders used are essential for Android app development, as they assist Android Studio and Gradle to seek out the whole lot and construct it accurately (extra on Gradle in a second). Suffice to say, you’ll be able to’t simply rename these as you please!

You’ll discover that there’s already some code on the principle web page. That is what we name “boilerplate code,” which means that it’s code that’s virtually equivalent throughout completely different app initiatives and that’s wanted to make primary capabilities work. Boilerplate code is what you’ll end up typing out again and again! One of many advantages of Kotlin is that it requires much less boilerplate, which means that you just’ll have much less code in your display if that’s what you selected.

Introducing format information

The function of this code is to inform Android the place the related format file is. A format file is barely completely different from a Kotlin/Java file. This defines the way in which that an exercise seems to be, and allows you to add issues like buttons, textual content, and browser home windows.

You’ll discover this file in: MyApplication > app > src > res > format.

It will likely be referred to as activity_main.xml. Be aware that information saved within the assets folder can’t use capitals; they should use the underscore image to tell apart completely different phrases. Double click on on this file and it’ll open in the principle window the place you edit your code. Discover which you could swap between the open information utilizing tabs alongside the highest.

Design View

You’ll be able to view this file through the “Code” view, the “Design” view, or a cut up view that reveals these home windows side-by-side. There are buttons to modify mode within the high proper.

Within the design view, you’ll be able to truly drag and drop completely different widgets onto the display. The code view reveals you a load of XML script. Whenever you add new widgets through the Design view, this script will replace. Likewise, you’ll be able to tweak properties of the widgets (referred to as “views”) in right here and see them mirrored in real-time through the Code view.

Within the overwhelming majority of apps, you’ll must create a brand new Java/Kotlin file and a corresponding XML file, every time you desire a new exercise. And for those who had been questioning: sure, which means you need to study both Kotlin or Java and XML. This can be a little bit of a headache, however it truly simplifies the method in the long term.

In fact, you don’t must know what the whole lot right here is. However some issues which can be helpful to find out about:

The Android Manifest: That is an XML file within the res folder that defines essential options of your app. That features the orientation of the app, the actions that you just need to be included in it, the model, and so forth.

See additionally: Xml: the whole lot you could know

Drawable: This folder is present in res. That is the place you’ll put issues like photos that you just need to reference later.

Values: This useful resource folder is a helpful place to retailer values that might be used globally throughout your app. For instance, this may embrace coloration codes (making it simple for you to vary the look of your total app) or strings (phrases). You’ll outline these values in particular person XML information, similar to colours.xml.

Gradle: Gradle is the software that takes all of your information and bundles them right into a workable APK for testing. It’s also helpful for producing previews and so forth. You gained’t want to fret concerning the information in right here usually, however if you wish to add a “dependency,” that is the place you’ll do it. Dependencies are exterior libraries that allow you to entry extra performance from inside your personal code.

In fact, we even have an in depth introduction to Gradle for new Android builders.

Step 4: Check your app

The very first thing that you’re presupposed to do when familiarizing your self with any new programming language, is to create an app that claims “Hey World.” Fortunately, that is very simple on this case seeing as that’s what the code that’s already right here does! Should you have a look at the XML, it features a small label that simply says: Hey World!

Should you have a look at the controls alongside the highest, you’ll see there’s somewhat inexperienced play arrow. On the left of this can be a drop-down menu, with a cellphone title in it. Whenever you put in Android Studio, this also needs to have put in an Android system picture together with the Digital Machine Supervisor. In different phrases, you need to have already got an Android emulator arrange and able to go! By clicking on this inexperienced arrow, you’ll have the ability to launch that and check your app! Discover that this will even allow you to use the emulated cellphone as if it had been an actual gadget.

You’ll be able to change the settings for your digital gadget – similar to display measurement, Android model, area and so forth. – by going to Instruments > AVD Supervisor. You can even obtain new system photos right here. Be sure that your digital gadget meets or exceeds the minimal SDK you set initially.

Alternatively, you’ll be able to attempt plugging a bodily gadget into your pc and utilizing this to check your new app. You’ll must activate Developer Choices although, and allow USB Debugging.

See additionally: The best way to allow Developer Choices in your Android Machine

Step 5: Make a factor!

The easiest way to study Android app development is by doing! Meaning you need to have a stab at modifying the code in entrance of you, to see if you can also make it do one thing new.

Altering the message that shows is so simple as going into your XML and altering the road that claims “Hey World!” into “Howdy World!”

However what if you wish to add some form of interactive ingredient to your creation? In that case, you would possibly determine to let the consumer click on the button to vary the textual content.

Testing App

First, you’ll want to position this line contained in the TextView tag in your activity_main.xml:



This may give the textual content label the title “helloButton” and can state that the tactic “onHelloButtonClick” will reference this view. We’re going so as to add that to our code in a second.

Now you’ll be able to add the next code to your MainActivity. Should you see any textual content seem crimson as you’re typing it, which means you could “import” that code from the Android SDK. Click on on the crimson textual content then press Alt + Enter and Android Studio will do that for you mechanically. In brief, this tells Android that you’re referencing a library that is part of the Android SDK.

(The next instance is written in Java.)


public class MainActivity extends AppCompatActivity {

    TextView helloButton;

    protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
        helloButton  = (TextView) findViewById(;

        public void onHelloButtonClick (View v) {
        helloButton.setText("Howdy World!");

On this code instance, we first create an “object” within the code referred to as “helloButton.” Inside our “onCreate” technique (the whole lot throughout the curly brackets) we then inform Android that this object represents the button in our format file. The code you place here’s what will run first whenever you launch an app.

Subsequent, we create the tactic that runs when somebody clicks on the button. As soon as that occurs, we will then change the textual content on the mentioned button. Discover that when once more, Kotlin requires considerably fewer traces to realize the identical factor!

Run the app and you need to now see that whenever you click on the button, the textual content modifications!

This can be a quite simple app, however it demonstrates the fundamentals of how Android app development works. Typically, you can be creating new on-screen components within the format file, then defining how they behave within the related Java or Kotlin file.

Android app development Star Wars Quiz

As you get extra superior, you’ll want to begin manipulating and storing information. To do that, you’ll use variables that comprise numbers and strings (phrases).

When you’ve learn by that, you’ll have a primary concept of how Java works, and all that’s left is to study how one can apply these abilities to Android app development. To that finish, a terrific technique is to choose a challenge after which work on that.

The secret is to not attempt to study “all of Android app development” however to set your sights on a practical first challenge. You’ll continue learning as you add new options and need to do new issues, and having a purpose will maintain your studying enjoyable and structured. Earlier than you recognize it, you’ll be a professional!

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